Thursday, November 13, 2008

Judge Hebert: Just Say “No” to Ethics Reform

In a story buried in the Houston Chronicle on November 10th we find that Precinct 1 Commissioner-Elect Richard Morrison has a full plate of ethics reform to serve to the Fort Bend County Commissioners Court when he takes office in January.

The hors d’oeuvres to this 7 course meal are pasted below from Morrison’s website where you can also get a copy of the full resolution.


  • Starting with the 2010 election cycle, limit individual contributions to a County Jude or County Commissioner to $250.
  • Limit PAC contributions to $500.


  • Any gift in excess of $100 to a County Judge or County Commissioner (or immediate family members) from a party with business before the County will require that Judge or Commissioner to recuse themselves from ruling or voting on that issue.

This isn’t news to anyone who knows Richard Morrison. Morrison has made it all about the unethical behavior that has been the curse of Fort Bend County government for far too long. And it’s time for a change. We changed the party affiliation of the 1st Precinct commissioner, and now it’s time to change out the feeding trough in the Commissioners Court and replace it with transparency and accountability.

News of the coming of this resolution was greeted with a smile and a yawn by County Judge Hebert. The Chron reports this reaction to Morrison’s resolution:

“He is entitled to his opinions. But I don’t know what good it will do if the commissioners court passes a resolution. It wouldn’t be binding on any elected officials. He needs to go to Austin and work with the state Legislature to change the law. We have to follow state rules in our fundraising.”

His hands are tied, you see. Tied. Hebert seems to be saying that if the state ethics commission [itself an ethically-challenged body in my opinion] doesn’t see a problem with how things are done now, can and should the county make these changes?

It’s non-binding, he says.

That is, if you violate the precepts found in the resolution, no one can punish you, or fine you.

I find it hard to say this to a government official, but here goes. What does it say about your ethical compass when the rules that you follow are only the ones that have monetary consequences if you violate them? What about what is right for the county taxpayers?

What is wrong with being right? What is wrong with being just? What is wrong with being fair? Texas ethics laws need revamping. That anyone can tell you. But why not serve as a model of ethical reform?

Show county taxpayers, and voters, that you are above the chicanery that Texas politics are famous for. Be an agent for change.

Or at least don’t get in the way of it.

Because the alternative is an unsaid admission that you like it as it is.

You like it just fine.


Anonymous said...

This article is a wonderful representation of the stupidity of the current idiots running this county. Mr. Morrison has the right idea. I say let's hang these sobs when they violate ethics laws and stop playing around with these corrupt jerks!

Anonymous said...

Hebert is the perfect example on old style southern politics. A chicken in all his pots and a hand in very pocket!